07/28/2014 12:32PM

No Beyers for Gulfstream's 4 1/2-furlong races


Beyer Speed Figures will no longer be assigned to 4 1/2-furlong races at Gulfstream Park. Previously published figures for the distance have been expunged.

“We are uncertain about the accuracy of the times at the distance,” said Andrew Beyer, creator of the figures, “and we have no way to verify them.”

Unlike most tracks, Gulfstream neither starts races at the 4 1/2-furlong pole nor ends them at the traditional finish line. Gulfstream’s races begin behind the five-furlong pole and end at its alternate finish line, which is about 20 yards past the pole that is one-sixteenth of a mile from the main finish line.

“The horses travel a total distance of about 4 3/4 furlongs,” said Pat Cummings, business manager of Trakus, the company that times the races at Gulfstream.

The Trakus system calculates the time of the race by locating the point on the track that is 4 1/2 furlongs from the finish. However, there are no poles or other landmarks at the point where the timing begins, and Cummings acknowledged, “Trying to hand-time the race is nearly impossible.”

Gulfstream began carding 4 1/2-furlong races for 2-year-olds this summer, and they produced an unusual number of fast times and high speed figures. Of the 12 fastest Beyers run by 2-year-olds in the United States this year, four were recorded at Gulfstream’s 4 1/2-furlong distance – more than in New York and California combined.

The Gulfstream speed figures for 2-year-olds at 4 1/2 furlongs were significantly higher than those at five furlongs, further clouding the accuracy of the figures at the shorter distance.

“We can make accurate figures at almost every distance at every track in the United States,” Beyer said. “But we don’t want to run the risk of publishing information that could mislead either bettors or owners who might buy a 2-year-old on the basis of a high figure. Instead of using this convoluted distance, couldn’t Gulfstream run its baby races at five furlongs?”

Ron Rios More than 1 year ago
beyer figures don't work for any distance, just stop doing them...
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
"Instead of using this convoluted distance, couldn’t Gulfstream run its baby races at five furlongs?” Ladies and gents, you have finally heard the first sane bit of wisdom from Andy Beyer in recent memory. Huzzah!
Stephen Mercier More than 1 year ago
I had a vision..... all North American races were run as 10 horse fields at a new one mile supertrack built in the middle of the continent on a single indoor synthetic straight line surface, racing in a vacuum with no wind or rain and no jockeys or trainers and a zero drug tolerance and a 1 % takeout........ahhh your laughing woke me up
Old timer More than 1 year ago
Nice! You have to read this article very carefully just to figure out what is the true distance that these races are run at. I guess "about 4 3/4 furlongs" is as close as we'll get! Add that to the myriad different run up distances for their turf races and it seems like Gulfstream race times are quite the crapshoot. Let's make handicapping even more complex! Is this what they call "customer friendly"?
Steve Schnell More than 1 year ago
If you are basing your handicapping on time and speed figures, this is what you deserve. If handicapping by time and speed figures was the way to go, every horse would pay $2.20 to win.
BoughPena More than 1 year ago
Why do we always talk like time has nothing to do in handicapping a race, or Beyer figures. It has a lot to do with it. However, there are other factors involved like: pace, distance, type of track, etc, etc. But it's essential to handicapping a race. IT's only a measurement, not a guarantee that next time will be duplicated.
jim lefferts More than 1 year ago
What do you handicap by silk colors? Time and pace are everything. Gulfstream Park needs to get this fixed. It's as simple as running 5 furlong races on their dirt course.
Wabstat More than 1 year ago
Keep betting Steve, we need more people who think like you.
Steve Schnell More than 1 year ago
Actually webstat, I wouldn't normally bring this up, but since you made your comment, I netted $212,398.40 on my tax return from horse racing last year. Still think you need more people like me?
jim lefferts More than 1 year ago
Ha! And Zenyatta is a gelding.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This is Frank Stronach's "customer ready": putting the screws to them, so to speak.